'This is finally finished': Driver who killed Ont. teen and hid vehicle for 14 years sentenced
The driver who hit and killed a Fergus, Ont. 18-year-old, and the woman who helped him cover it up, were sentenced in a Guelph court Tuesday, nearly 15 years after the fatal crash.
Lucas Shortreed’s family provided victim impact statements before the sentence was delivered. The courtroom, packed with Shortreed’s family and friends, also heard shocking new details on the police investigation.
Lucas Shortreed, 18, was killed in fatal hit and run near Alma, Ont. in 2008.
“I think that’s a big part, just having our day in court feels huge finally after 15 years,” said Shortreed’s mother Judie Moore, speaking outside the courthouse.
“It’s just a sense of relief that this is finally finished.”
David Alexander Halliburton, 56, pleaded guilty to failing to remain at the scene of an accident causing bodily harm or death, and obstructing justice. He was sentenced to two and half years behind bars. His sentence also includes a three-year prohibition on driving and a condition that he must submit DNA to a database.
Anastasia Marie Halliburton, 54, who helped hide the vehicle, pleaded guilty to obstructing justice and was given a six-month conditional sentence, including four months of house arrest and two months of curfew. She must also complete 200 hours of community service.
Neither is allowed to contact the Shortreed family.
In delivering the sentence, the judge called the Halliburton’s actions a calculated and deliberate plan to hide the truth and prolong the suffering of the victim’s family.
“Beyond just our family, the whole community suffered from them not coming forward for 14 years,” said Shortreed’s sister, Jenneen Beattie.
Anastasia Halliburton and David Halliburton. (Facebook)
A 14-YEAR SEARCH FOR ANSWERS
On Oct. 10, 2008, Lucas Shortreed was walking home from party in Alma, Ont., around midnight when he was hit by a driver who fled the scene.
On Tuesday, court heard Halliburton was driving home from a friend’s house when he struck Shortreed, who was walking on the road.
His 11-year-old son was sitting in the back seat at the time.
The address police searched on Sept. 21, 2022 was just a few kilometers from the scene of the 2008 crash and even closer to a where a billboard with Lucas Shortreed's face once stood. (CTV Kitchener)
From the early stages of the investigation, OPP believed they knew what type of car was involved – a 1995 to 1997 white Dodge Neon.
Officers received and investigated over 100 tips, but in 14 years, they weren’t able to find the vehicle.
Then, on Sept. 21, 2022, there was a breakthrough in the case. Acting on a tip from the public, police searched the Halliburton’s property in Mapleton Township, just a few kilometres from where Shortreed was killed, and seized a white Dodge neon. The pair were arrested the same day.
A police report, released publically earlier this month, revealed the car had been hidden behind a false wall inside a semi-trailer.
Police say this Dodge Neon, recovered from a trailer at a Mapleton Township property, has been confirmed as the vehicle that struck and killed Lucas Shortreed in 2008. (Wellington County Police Services Board agenda package)
OPP BORROWED HALLIBURTONS' DECOY CAR FOR RE-ENACTMENT
On Tuesday, court heard that after the crash, the Halliburtons bought a second Dodge Neon and swapped the licence plates and Vehicle Identification Numbers to avoid detection.
They were questioned by the OPP twice – once in 2008 and once in 2009 – and cleared both times.
Then in 2013, when the OPP were looking for a similar vehicle to stage a re-enactment of the hit and run, they asked the Halliburtons to borrow theirs.
According to the agreed statement of facts, Dave Halliburton told police he would be glad to assist them and allow use of the car, provided it was returned.
The Halliburton's white Dodge Neon was subsequently used in the re-enactment as part of a media campaign trying to generate leads in the case on the fifth anniversary of Shortreed's death.
Police stage a media event in 2013 as they continue to investigate the crash that killed Lucas Shortreed. On Sept. 26, 2023, court heard OPP used the Halliburton's Dodge Neon, which the pair had bought to replace their previous car that was damaged in the actual crash. (CTV Kitchener/File Video)
'I'M NOT VINDICTIVE'
For Shortreed’s mother and sister, it’s not about the sentence.
“I’m not vindictive,” Beattie said. “I’m not a judge or a jury. It’s not up to me give out sentences for wrongdoings. I’m glad we found the car and that we had our day in court.”
The family says justice is not just what happens in the courtroom.
Lucas Shortreed's family after the sentencing on Sept. 26, 2023. (CTV News/Dave Pettitt)
“They’re being punished beyond the court system, by their family, their friends,” Moore said. “They’ve lost their house, their sense of community. We have all the community support and they’ve lost everything, as far as I’m concerned.”
The family is hopeful they can start to move on and remember Shortreed for his life, not the tragic circumstance around his death.
“He was such a kind and caring young man and it’s just so sad not to know what he would’ve became,” Moore said.
“I like to think a lot of this is because of Lucas,” Beattie said. “I like to think the miracle that we found the car is because he’s working behind the scenes, so that brings me joy.”
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